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Motion Theory - Featherhead CD (album) cover

FEATHERHEAD

Motion Theory

 

Crossover Prog

3.00 | 3 ratings

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Angelo
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars (published before on the forums)

I listened to this album for a week (on and off, I'm not a complete masochist) when asked to review it by the band., and it really is one of these albums that needs some time to get into your skull. Overall, this is a very nice effort - regardless of how full prog it can be considered, the influences are definitely there. Sometimes I hear a hint of an 80's metal riff, a bit of Nine Inch Nails or Radiohead.

A brief impression per track seems in order as well, with 8 tracks on the album.

I Love the Smell of Universe in the Morning - An in your face opening riff, that evolves into a heavy track, which surprisingly ends with a very mellow keyboard piece. The vocals seem to be a bit detached from the rest of the band - due to the mix, or as a friend of mine remarked 'maybe they should have applied some vocal effects to make the singing less clean and integrate it more with the music'.

Until you Leave - This one has an Iron Maiden like intro riff, which gets backed by a simple, yet driving bass line that continuous throughout the song. A track that really holds power, although I think the drums might've been a little bit more varied. The singing on this one is on the edge of screaming sometimes, not really my taste, but skipping personal preferences, it does fall into place after a few listens.

Lucidity - This track really is a different beast after the two opening tracks. Subtle guitars, percussion-like drumming and more laid back singing. The guitar and bass interplay during solos' and outro is very well done, and this is definitely a prog track. It's one of the tracks where I really started counting to find out the beat - and I was glad to read on the forums this morning that my 5/8 guess in the middle section was correct.

All I Need - This one is well performed, with the vocals and guitar alternating in taking the lead. Only downside is that the high notes in this track seem to be close to Dom's limits, which is a bit straining to the ears at times. Outside that, this track reminds me a bit of 90's Radiohead.

Big Boys - This is a track that gives me mixed feelings. On certain listens I think it is too simple, on others I suddenly notice the almost psychedelic feel of the instrumental parts. The singing is very 'soulful' and the clean guitars and drumming (percussion-like again) support it very well. A relaxing track.

Make Some Noise - After Big Boys, Make Some Noise is exactly that - the heavy guitar riffs are back, as is the more screaming side of the singer. Maybe because of what comes before it, but this too me is the least track of the eight.

Cycles - This one at first brings to mind New Model Army, it's a bit of a stranger in the mix with the other tracks - partly because of the lyrics and the vocals, partly because of the music (the drive of the rhythm section). The instrumental part and the second half however are far more progressive than what NMA ever did.

Featherhead - It's obvious why this has become the title track of the album. It's simply the best of the bunch. Coming in at almost 7 minutes it seems to have 3 or 4 movements, starting with a nice bass and vocal intro, and giving more room to the guitar and drums after that. There's a bit of a Psychedelic/Space feeling to this one again, and once again I hear flashes of early Radiohead. Could this also be the only track with effects applied to the vocals? Definitely a prog track in all respects.

As promised, I paid some special attention to the vocals, since I was a bit negative about those when reviewing an early demo. On first listen, I didn't really appreciate them in a quite few places, but somehow that feeling disappeared after a few listens. Or at least almost. In some tracks I get a bit uncomfortable with the way Dom sings the longstretched syllables, e.g. in first half of I Love the Smell of the Universe in the Morning (great song title by the way!). In other tracks the singing is on the edge of screaming, like Until You Leave. Both are things I don't really like, but I can only think of these as conscious decisions on the part of the band. More important, on All I Need, the high notes give me the feeling Dom can do better, which he proves perfectly on the title track Featherhead. A glitch, or a conscious decision also - I'm not sure. Overall, I can only agree with what Will wrote in February (after I reviewed the demo) - what I heard on this album is a vocalist who is much more integrated with the band and knows where he's going. One remark made by the same friend that commented on the opening track should be added here: on one track, I think Big Boys or Lucidity, she remarked 'hey, he sings like that guy from Tool - very nice!'. Let's just not add anything after that.

Angelo | 3/5 |

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